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shaking, however, soon brings. it round again. We determined to obtain one of the hooded snakes whilst the charmers' were actually using it, feeling certain that the reptile was rendered harmless. Gold did it. We seized the snake there and then, and bore him away in triumph. We found, on examining the wretched animal, that its fangs had been first of all extracted, and its mouth afterwards cleverly and neatly stitched together. We have this cobra now in a bottle of spirits. Here was another case of gross imposition bowled out and exposed.
Casaubon says that he knew a man who could at any time summon a hundred serpents together, and draw them into the fire. Upon a certain occasion, when one of them, larger than the rest, would not be brought in, he only repeated his charm, and it came forward, like the others, to submit to the flames. Philostratus describes particularly how the Indians charm serpents. "They take a scarlet robe, embroidered with golden letters, and spread it before a serpent's hole. The golden letters have a fascinating power, and, by looking steadfastly, the serpent's eyes are overcome and laid asleep.' In India, as in Egypt, snake-charming is still extensively practised by a class of itinerants, who live by it as a profession. A large portion of the community, Europeans as well as natives, believe that these charmers have strange powers over the snaketribe.
'In Madras, however,' says a correspondent, while I was there, this belief received a sad shock by a circumstance which occurred. One of the most noted serpent-charmers about the district chanced one morning to get hold of a cobra of considerable size, which he got conveyed to his home. He was occupied abroad all day, and had not time to get the dangerous fang extracted from the serpent's mouth. This at least is the probable solution of the matter. In the evening, he returned to his dwelling, considerably excited with liquor, and began to exhibit tricks with his snakes to various persons who were around him at the time. The newly-caught cobra was brought out with the others, and the man, spirit-valiant, commenced to handle the stranger like the rest. But the cobra darted at his chin, and bit it, making two marks like pin-points. The poor juggler was sobered in an instant. “I am a dead man," he exclaimed. The prospect of immediate death made the maintenance of his professional mysticism a thing of no moment. “ Let the creature alone,” said he to those about him, who would have killed the cobra; “it may be of service to others of my trade. To me it can be of no more use. Nothing can save me." His professional knowledge was but too accurate. In two hours he was a corpse! I saw him a short time after he died. His friends and brother-jugglers had gathered around him, and had him placed on a chair in a sitting position. Seeing the detriment likely to result to their trade and interests from such a notion, they vehemently asserted that it was not the envenomed bite which had killed him. “No, no; he only forgot one little word-one small portion of the charm.” In fact, they declared that he was not dead at all, but only in a sort of swoon, from which, according to the rules of the cabalistic art, he would recover in seven days. But the officers of the barracks, close to which the deceased had lived, interfered in the matter. They put a guard of one or two men on the house, declaring that they would allow the body to remain unburied for seven days, but would not permit any trickery. Of course the poor serpent-charmer never came to life again. His death and the manner of it gave a severe blow, as has been already hinted, to the art and practice of snakecharming in Madras.'
The American Indians pretend to the same secret power, as do also the Arabs and many of the wild African tribes. In Egypt and Nubia, its exhibition is of daily occurrence, and Bruce, who often witnessed these performances, affirms that there can be no doubt of its reality.
We have given our own experience of the ease with which persons may be deceived by a little dexterity on the part of charmers. Had we not taken the imitation cerastes in our own hands, we should never have discovered the deception we have previously described.
Notwithstanding the aversion with which serpents are viewed both by man and the lower animals, they are abundantly used by the latter, and occasionally by the former, as food, whilst in many countries they are held as valuable in materia medica. Thus, the wild hog, hedgehog, ichneumon, buzzard, &c. prey upon them where they can be obtained, apparently regardless whether the species be venomous or non-venomous. The ibis was held sacred by the Egyptians for its real or supposed services in destroying offensive and poisonous reptiles, and its body was embalmed, and deposited in the catacombs along with the other objects of their veneration. The ibis is a wader, or stilt-bird, and its bill is certainly not well adapted for the destruction of large serpents; but as the young both of water and land reptiles must have abounded in the plain of the Nile, the bird may have performed the more efficient service of ridding the country of these pests before they reached a state of dangerous maturity. The ichneumon, another inhabitant of Egypt, has scarcely been less celebrated than the ibis for its services in destroying serpents, lizards, and crocodiles. Though too timid and weak for the successful attack of these animals in their adult state, it is nevertheless one of the main checks to their increase, as it is continually on the search for their eggs and young, upon which it preys with avidity. Stories are sometimes told by travellers of encounters between the ichneumon and serpents, in which the former, though frequently bitten, is always ultimately successful, as it instinctively seeks the remedy of some herb as soon as it feels the effect of the poison.
But it is not alone the lower animals that feast on the serpent race. According to Hector St John, the American Indians often regale on the rattlesnake. When they find one asleep, they thrust a forked stick over its neck, which they keep immovably fixed to the ground, giving the snake a piece of leather to bite; and this they pull back several times with great force, until they observe that the poisonous fangs are torn out. They then cut off the head, skin the body, and cook it as we do eels; and the flesh is said to be extremely white and good. The Doko, a wild pigmy race inhabiting Southern Abyssinia, destroy numbers of serpents which inhabit the bamboo jungles of their country; cook and eat them, esteeming them a very savory morsel. In Stedman's account of Surinam, the natives are described as partial to the flesh of the boa—the oil or fat of which they also employ for medicinal purposes. The flesh of the common viper was formerly of high esteem in Europe as a remedy for various diseases, but particularly as a restorative. It has now, however, lost much of its ancient credit, and is very rarely prescribed by modern practitioners. Dr Mead cites from Pliny, Galen, and other ancients, several proofs of its efficacy in the cure of ulcers, elephantiasis, and other complaints; and affirms that he himself has seen good effects from it in obstinate leprosy. The ancients prescribed it boiled, and to be eaten like fish; for when fresh, the medicine was much more likely to take effect than when dried, and given in the form of a powder. Mr Keysler relates that Sir K. Digby used to feed his wife, who was a most beautiful woman, with capons fattened with the flesh of vipers.
In conclusion, we would observe that the utility of serpents in the scheme of creation may be somewhat puzzling to those who take a narrow view of external relations, and look upon everything as destined merely to subserve the purposes of man. To such, however, as extend their views beyond this selfish limit, the serpent family will appear quite as necessary to the general harmony, as the most innocent and most directly serviceable of the lower animals. Even though the enlightened and diligent might fail to detect a single useful property in these animals, analogy would warrant the conclusion that nothing has been made in vain; and our general ignorance of creative design should teach us caution in pronouncing upon the intentions of Him of whom we are the handiworks. As it is, we see the serpent tribe accomplishing certain purposes steadily and harmoniously. They keep in check slugs, worms, insects, smaller reptiles, and suchlike fast-breeding beasts, and, in turn, become the food of other creatures. They occupy waste places, as heaths, pestilent marshes, moist jungles, and savannahs-situations but partially occupied by other existence-and therefore fulfil the great law, that every region should be replete with its own peculiar life and enjoyment.
was to shew these worthies we were fully prepared to support by test the harmless nature of the snakes.
We are quite ready to admit that we are sorely puzzled about this so-called snake-charming. That we were somehow deceived, we feel sure, yet cannot for the life of us tell how. As the charmers were at Mr Foster's some time prior to our arrival, we were at first disposed to think the snakes had been placed in the situations where we saw them taken. But Mr Foster positively assured us that the men could not by any possibility have gained access to either of the localities where the snakes were discovered. Again, the charmers did not go where they willed, but simply searched where they were directed. We have sometimes thought it probable the Arab might have had about his stick or his person some strong odour attractive to snakes ; if so, and we are rather inclined to this opinion, it was imperceptible to our olfactory organs.
Most persons with whom we have conversed in Egypt believe the snake-charmers have power to compel snakes to quit their hidingplaces. We were talking with an Englishman of education and position a short time ago about snake-charming. He has been about eleven years resident in Egypt, and he tells us that he quite believes in the power of snake-charmers, and related an instance of their power which he witnessed; it was as follows. A small steamvessel, employed for transport up and down the Nile, became so infested with snakes that the sailors and stokers refused to work in her. The reptiles were lodged in the coal-bunkers, in the hold, in the cabin, and, indeed, no place in the ship was free from them. A pasha, to whom she belonged, sent for the snake-charmers. Four of them came; and they were placed on the steamer's deck, stripped naked, and told if they cleared the steamer of all the snakes, they should be amply rewarded ; if they failed to do so, they would be considered impostors, and handed over to the tender mercies of the kaidee. They were eminently successful. How many snakes they brought out of the steamer, I am unable to state-at anyrate, a goodly number ; and from that time the steamer has been free from snakes.
We often used to watch the snake-charmers performing in the bazaar at Cairo with the hooded snake (Naja haje). One provokes the snake by flapping its face with a rag, torturing it with a stick, and generally worrying it until he provokes it to raise its hood and erect its body; then holding out his hand, he permits the snake to strike at it: immediately the rascal goes through some form of incantation, rubs his hand with a charm, and the wondering crowd throw in the coveted 'backshish. Another, during this performance, keeps up a perpetual droning kind of music, produced from a kind of rude reed instrument, also now and then rattling a tambourine. They also cause the snake to become as stiff and rigid as an iron bar by somehow pressing on the nape of its neck; a good
of kindly commiseration. It is one thing, however, to pity, and another to assist in the plans of such persons. Andrayne, fresh from the study of ancient history, and fired with a love of liberty, not only sympathised with his Italian acquaintances, but most imprudently allowed himself to become entangled in their designs. Having signified to them his intention of making a journey through Italy, for the sake of improvement, they induced him, with little persuasion, to take charge of certain papers, which had for their object the stirring up of a movement against the Austrian dominion in Lombardy. There was something like cruelty in thus involving a young and unsuspicious foreigner in their plans. The correspondence to be committed to his care was of a highly dangerous nature, and was calculated not only to compromise its bearer, but some of the noblest men of the unhappy country which its restless exiles vainly strove to liberate. A moment's reflection might have suggested to the mind of Andrayne that there was scarcely a possibility of his escaping detection. Austria was known to have spies in Switzerland and France, who reported all they saw or heard respecting the movements of the Italian exiles and their associates ; and therefore any young enthusiast, like our unfortunate hero, was almost certain to be watched.
Blind to the dangers which menaced him, and in spite of the entreaties of several friends, particularly his sister, Andrayne set out on his journey from Switzerland into Italy on the 18th of December 1822. At this inclement season he encountered great difficulties in crossing the Alpine passes. The snow was so deep on the road, " that four guides had the greatest difficulty to open a path for the
sledge which carried his luggage. More than once did the traveller owe his life to the intrepid dexterity of these courageous mountaineers : they also exerted themselves, on several occasions, to prevent his luggage from being lost in the ravines which bordered on the path. At one time, when his writing-case was precipitated over the rocks, and was caught on a thorn, a guide insisted on being suspended over an abyss by a rope tied round his body, and thus was able to recover what might otherwise have been given up as lost.
After a toilsome journey, the mountains were passed, and the open plains of Lombardy made their appearance. Without encountering any impediment, Andrayne arrived in Milan, where he took up his residence at a hotel. Here he had an interview with several persons connected with the exiles at Geneva, and the more he heard and saw, the more was he assured of the hopelessness of the projected movement. A sense of his own danger now appears to have for the first time affected him, and he became exceedingly anxious to get rid of the obnoxious packet. In a state of feverish alarm, he called several times at the house of a person whom he wished to carry back the papers to Geneva ; but this intended messenger was on each occasion absent, and he was left to find some other method